Category Archives: Home Buyer Tips

What You Risk When You Waive Contingencies

The San Francisco market has come roaring back after the initial Covid slowdown in 2020. We are heading into a robust Spring, and it seems like buyers and sellers are making up for last year’s lost time.

That’s led to very competitive offer situations and high sale prices, particularly for single-family homes and condos in smaller buildings. Most multiple-offer situations end up with a handful of buyers waiving all contingencies (e.g., conditions of the sale) in order to make their offer as attractive as possible to the seller.

But do all buyers realize what’s at stake when they waive all contingencies? Sometimes I’m not so sure. Continue Reading

10 Reasons Why You Should Buy Title Insurance

One of the most expensive items on your home purchase closing statement is title insurance. If you’re getting a loan, the lender will require a policy on the loan. But you may not be required to purchase a homeowner’s policy. Should you skip it?

In a word, no. The owner’s title policy will protect you against future claims against the property. Though the title company does a search through public records prior to the closing, unexpected things can pop up. Without title insurance, you’re flying without a net. Continue Reading

Let The Stars Guide Your House Hunt

Things are looking up these days, and many home buyers who postponed purchase plans in the wake of Covid are back on track.

You may know how many bedrooms and bathrooms you’d prefer, but are you solid when it comes to neighborhood preferences? There’s a lot to consider—proximity to public transportation, good Walk Scores, easy freeway access, good parks.

But make sure you don’t overlook the astrological angle when putting together your list of preferred neighborhoods. What your zodiac sign says about you could have everything to do with whether you’ll be happy in your future home. And as my company, Corcoran Global Living, always says: “Live who you are.”

So let’s have a little fun and see what the stars have to say about where you should settle:

ARIES (Mar 21-Apr 20): Daring, spontaneous and full of energy, you’ll appreciate constantly developing Mission Bay. The neighborhood bustles with activity from the biotech and medical industries. And the adjacent waterfront offers a variety of activities. Giants/Warriors games and Chase Center concerts will be back in the north-so-distant future, and there are lots of restaurants in the area. Continue Reading

Here Are My Spring Tips for SF Home Buyers

Spring is just around the corner, and with that will come one of the busiest times of the year for San Francisco real estate. Covid made its mark last Spring, shutting us down for a time and completely dampening the market. But times are fortunately changing, and I feel like we’re heading into a robust next few months.

But we’re still operating under Covid restrictions. So that means no open houses, broker tours and showings by appointment only with your agent. It also means shorter marketing periods, with agents setting offer dates as soon as a week after the on-market date. You need to be prepared and organized if you’re planning to successfully purchase your next home this Spring.

So here are my top tips for navigating the Spring 2021 San Francisco real estate market:
Be completely preapproved for a loan. You’ll often be in a competitive offer situation, with buyers waiving contingencies to stand out. Make sure you’ve submitted all required documents to your lender, and consult with him or her to see what latitude you may have when it comes to, for example, waiving a loan or appraisal contingency. Continue Reading

Short-Term, Furnished Rentals Good Seller Pit Stops

I’ve met recently with a number of homeowners who are considering selling their properties, but don’t know where they’ll be able to buy next. Though they know they’ll do extremely well in the current market with the sale of their property, they’re nervous about competing with buyers to purchase their next place.

Here’s a suggestion that will work for these potential sellers: Rent a short-term, furnished rental. There are actually quite a number of these available at any given time, in all parts of The Bay Area. (Short-term, unfurnished rentals are more of a challenge to find, given that many landlords prefer longer-term apartment leases.) Continue Reading

Here’s Your Home Insurance Primer

When you’re buying a house in San Francisco, there’s a lot going on. One of the key escrow activities is nailing down your insurance policy and provider. So it’s important to know what you’ll be looking for in terms of coverage level and annual cost.

Here are the main items for comparison that should be standard in your home insurance coverage: Continue Reading

Give Yourself a Competitive Advantage with Up Front Loan Preapproval

One thing is for certain if you expect to write a competitive offer in the San Francisco market: Get fully preapproved for a loan before you start seeing properties.

Prospective buyers would traditionally chat with a lender rep, get an idea as to what they could afford based on basic financial details and then submit all the financials after getting into contract.

However, that won’t fly in San Francisco—or most of The Bay Area—these days. Limited inventory and high-buyer demand translate into routinely competitive, multiple-offer situations that require short (or no) loan contingency timeframes. Winning offers rarely happen for buyers who need a loan contingency timeframe that accommodates underwriting review of their financials after they go into contract. Continue Reading

Don’t Depend on List Price To Guide Your Home Search

The secret to a successful home search is simple: Know what you can afford.

Here’s an example of what can happen if you ignore that reality: You get preapproved for up to $1.5M and are interested in buying a single-family home in the city. Armed with your list of ten houses priced at around $1.5M, you unexpectedly see a home you love and offers are due in two days. That leads to a scramble for an agent who can help you throw together your first offer. The agent tells you the property will probably sell for well over list price, but you submit your offer at asking anyway. I mean, why not give it a shot, right? Later that night, the agent calls to let you know that the sellers received five offers and accepted the highest and best. Continue Reading

Be A Strategic Buyer in a Tight Inventory Market

It’s easy to put your home search on auto pilot, looking constantly at online search sites for the latest new listing. But if you’re seeking a single-family home in San Francisco, it will become quickly obvious that there’s a low inventory of houses—and you have to do more than just wait for new listings.

Home buyer tip: Don’t bypass existing listings that may be spending more time on the market than their owners would like. These homes could be opportunities for buyers to avoid overbidding and competitive offer situations. If a house has been on the market for 30 days or more, it means that seller will likely not be seeing crazy overbidding and multiple offers. And there may also be room to negotiate a lower price. Continue Reading

Time To Get Your Real Estate Goals Going in 2021

Happy New Year! I am thrilled to be welcoming 2021 after such a challenging 2020.

With a new year comes new goals. I’ve spent the last week planning my business and life goals, and have consulted with about a dozen clients and friends who are planning renovations or estate changes and have a lot of questions about where to start. You may also be cooking up some moves and wondering where to begin. Continue Reading

SF Board of Supervisors Bans Natural Gas in Future New Construction

The future isn’t bright for natural gas in future San Francisco new construction. If you’re dead set on having a gas range in your condo, now is the time to snap up a unit in a building powered by natural gas.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted on Tuesday to ban natural gas in new construction buildings, in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The legislation that will affect more than 50,000 homes currently in the development pipeline, reports J.K. Dineen in the San Francisco Chronicle. Continue Reading

Yes, Neighbors Can Affect Property Values

In a city as dense as San Francisco, it’s important for buyers and sellers to consider the “neighbor factor.”

My clients visited an open house recently that I recommended they see, with a heads up that the property next door was a bit of an issue. The single-family home they saw was well appointed, renovated, and on a lovely block. They loved the floor plan and overall space. The garden was cute and private. They basically liked everything about it—except for the hoarder house next door whose yard looked like the dump. They decided to pass. Continue Reading

Kickstart Your Next Phase of Corona Living in a Floating Home

Kickstart Your Next Phase of Corona Living in a Floating Home

One of only 20 live-aboard floating homes in Mission Creek is available now, and it could be an excellent option to get out of the corona rut.

If you’re tired of being a landlubber working from your flat and you have the cash, 300 Channel Berth 14 may be the ticket to coping with corona times. The boat has three bedrooms and three bathrooms across three levels for a total of 1,780 square feet. The entry level has a loft setup and contiguous outdoor space. There’s an ensuite bedroom on the middle level, and the “penthouse” level features another ensuite bedroom, living spaces and deck. Continue Reading

What You Need To Know About Leased Parking

You start your home search with a parking space as part of your criteria. And then you see the perfect condo, but it has what’s defined as “leased parking.” What’s that all about?

The SF Realtor Association changed the data fields in the MLS a few years ago to include leased parking and its related details in a given listing. Previously, you either had some type of deeded parking, or not. Some agents indicated “1L” in the data field, which resulted in listings showing a parking space that technically wasn’t going to be sold with the unit. So the leased parking fields are a good thing, in my opinion.

When it comes to parking, either you have a space included or not. There are variations on parking that comes with a unit, such as deeded, assigned, tandem or independent style. Continue Reading

Contact Eileen for Real Estate Help

Eileen Bermingham

Corcoran Global Living

415.823.4656

eileen@insidesfre.com

DRE# 01352627

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